This week, despite a measure to reduce costs and paperwork, regulators added $229 million in total regulatory costs. There were no rulemakings that monetized benefits. The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final fracking rule led the week.
This week, the American Action Forum (AAF) launched five years of research: Reg Rodeo. The online database contains information on every federal rule with a quantifiable cost or paperwork burden since 2008. Users can search federal rules by the affected industry, agency, or by law (Affordable Care Act or Dodd-Frank).
This rulemaking is potentially one of the most consequential regulations in recent years, with cost and benefit estimates in the billions of dollars for any of the three standard levels under consideration. However, this comment focuses primarily upon the proposal’s intrinsic feasibility under some of the agency’s own assertions and assumptions. The two areas I address in particular are: 1) unknown control technologies, and 2) the transportation of ozone.
Today, the U.S. House released its budget blueprint, primarily aimed at controlling federal spending and reforming federal entitlements. However, the document also explains how the House will evaluate cumulative regulatory burdens and streamline the rulemaking process.
Regulators pushed passed $30 billion for the year by adding more than $12.2 billion in costs this week. Annualized costs were $750 million, compared to $1.5 billion in benefits, and more than 7,100 paperwork burden hours. The Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposal on new efficiency standards for furnaces led the week.
Nearly two weeks after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially approved a move to Title II, utility-style regulation of the Internet, the official language appeared for the first time this week. Unfortunately, it’s just as bad as many expected.
With a total, lifetime cost estimate in excess of $12 billion, this proposal is now the second most expensive rulemaking published so far in 2015. Only an efficiency rule for lamps outpaces it. It is also the second most expensive rulemaking by annualized costs.
Despite the snow delays from the early March storm, regulatory agencies published nearly $400 million in regulatory costs and 8.4 million paperwork burden hours. Quantified annual benefits came in at only $9.2 million, compared to $370 million in annual costs. A rulemaking from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updating its acquisition procedures led the week.
The U.S. House is expected to vote soon on two pieces of legislation to streamline and provide increased oversight to the regulatory system. The Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act would curb practice known as “sue and settle,” where special interests are given a say in significant federal regulations and the SCRUB Act (Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome), which would establish an independent commission with the goal of reducing cumulative regulatory burdens by at least 15 percent. According to research from the American Action Forum (AAF), savings from these bills could total $48 billion annually and save 1.5 billion paperwork burden hours.
It is because regulatory reform has failed so often in the past that we continue to talk about its place in the future. Whether it’s the failure of agencies to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Congressional Review Act, or the current executive orders, it’s clear there are opportunities for meaningful reform that address cumulative burdens and the regulatory process. The proposed legislation could generate substantial regulatory savings.